Unix Time - Notable Events in Unix Time

Notable Events in Unix Time

Unix enthusiasts have a history of holding time_t parties to celebrate significant values of the Unix time number. These are directly analogous to the new year celebrations that occur at the change of year in many calendars. As the use of Unix time has spread, so has the practice of celebrating its milestones. Usually it is time values that are round numbers in decimal that are celebrated, following the Unix convention of viewing time_t values in decimal. Among some groups round binary numbers are also celebrated, such as +230 which occurred at 13:37:04 UTC on 10 January 2004.

The events that these celebrate are typically described as "N seconds since the Unix epoch", but this is inaccurate. As discussed above, due to the handling of leap seconds in Unix time, the number of seconds elapsed since the Unix epoch is slightly greater than the Unix time number for times later than the epoch.

  • At 01:46:40 UTC on 9 September 2001, the Unix billennium (Unix time number 1,000,000,000) was celebrated. Some programs which stored timestamps using a text representation encountered sorting errors, as in a text sort times after the turnover, starting with a "1" digit, erroneously sorted before earlier times starting with a "9" digit. Affected programs included the popular usenet reader KNode and e-mail client KMail, part of the KDE desktop environment. Such bugs were generally cosmetic in nature and quickly fixed once problems became apparent. The problem also affected many 'Filtrix' document-format filters provided with Linux versions of WordPerfect; a patch was created by the user community to solve this problem, since Corel no longer sold or supported that version of the program. The name is a portmanteau of "billion" and "millennium".
  • At 01:58:31 UTC on 18 March 2005, the Unix time number reached 1,111,111,111.
  • At 23:31:30 UTC on 13 February 2009, at exactly 23:31:30 (UTC) the decimal representation of Unix time reached 1,234,567,890 seconds. In some parts of the world, this day fell on Friday the 13th in the Gregorian calendar. (14 February for locations from France east to the International Date Line.) Google celebrated this with a Google doodle. Parties and other celebrations were held around the world, among various technical subcultures, to celebrate the 1,234,567,890th second.
  • 26 January 2011 was the 15,000th day of Unix time; this was celebrated in Bloomington, Indiana.
  • At 03:33:20 UTC on 18 May 2033, the Unix time will reach 2,000,000,000 seconds, the second billennium.
  • At 06:28:16 UTC on 7 Feb 2036, Network Time Protocol will loop over to the next epoch, as the 32-bit time stamp value used in NTP will overflow.
  • At 03:14:08 UTC on 19 January 2038, 32-bit versions of the Unix time stamp will cease to work, as it will overflow the largest value that can be held in a signed 32-bit number. Before this moment software using 32-bit time stamps will need to either adopt a new convention for time stamps or be migrated to 64-bit systems, and file formats using 32-bit time stamps will need to be changed to support larger time stamps.
  • At 06:28:15 UTC on Sun, 7 February 2106, the Unix time will reach 0xFFFFFFFF or 4,294,967,295 seconds which, for systems that hold the time on 32 bit unsigned numbers, is the maximum attainable. For these systems, the next second will incorrectly be Thursday, 1 January 1970 at 0:00:00.
  • At 17:46:40 UTC on Sat, 20 November 2286, the Unix time will reach 10,000,000,000 seconds, the tenth billennium.
  • At 15:30:08 UTC on Sun, 4 December 292,277,026,596 64-bit versions of the Unix time stamp will cease to work, as it will overflow the largest value that can be held in a signed 64-bit number. This is considerably longer than the time it will take the Sun to expand to a red giant and swallow the earth.

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